Verily, if you really think about it, multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) saw an unlocked door and threw it wide open.
You see, affordable per capita mobility will always be a relevant consideration as the industry strives for a democratization of car ownership. We first saw it with the spike of compact cars – budget point-and-shoot rides that effectively lowered the budgetary entry point. But at some time, single drivers will eventually marry and have kids. While the need for space increases exponentially, the wallet’s capacity may not, hence the need to keep things affordable.
The MPV is thus the best way to accommodate heightened demand, while keeping the price tag within reasonable reach. Which explains a preponderance of these movers which pile on the pax but not the pesos. This makes them the ideal set of wheels for most families, budding businesses, and pragmatists.
The compact MPV’s nomenclature is an adaptation of “R-Tiga.” “Tiga” is “three” in Indonesian, while “R” stands rows – because, well, you know. Suzuki offers six variants of the Ertiga to afford the luxury of choice while accommodating specific pocketbook capabilities. The entry-level manual-transmission GA goes for P619,000, while the top-shelf GLX costs P918,000. That’s a wide girth.
At first gander, the Ertiga is obviously better put together than its brother APV (also an MPV). It appears more aerodynamic and strikes one as more stable than the upright and boxy APV. Still, there is some price point intersection among the two models’ variants.
Newly facelifted, the Ertiga provides a measure of luxe and space as Suzuki designers softened the look for a more elegant gait and smoother-flowing lines. A pedestrian 1.4-liter engine whines under the Ertiga’s hood – supplying 95hp and 130Nm. Expectedly, it takes a while to access maximum ability, with the full complement of horses arriving at 6,000rpm, and peak torque at 4,000rpm. But no one expected you to make jackrabbit starts, right?
Steering is surprisingly light and effortless, with the ride passable. Our GLX test unit is mated to an uncomplicated four-speed automatic transmission, which is just enough gearing to provide pep when necessary. It also helps that the Ertiga’s gross weight is only 1,770 kilos. Driving visibility via its large windows is excellent. We find the air-conditioning adequate, and appreciate the independent fan controls and vents for second-row passengers. With the second- and third-row seatbacks folded, the Ertiga boasts 736 liters of cargo space – enough for a substantial grocery run or even a trip to the hardware store.